SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A 26-year-old north Idaho man accused of fatally shooting a veteran police officer and stealing his patrol car has been ordered held on $2 million bail.
Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. died Tuesday evening after he was critically wounded early Tuesday morning.
Jonathan Renfro of Rathdrum appeared in court Tuesday afternoon, after being captured following a high-speed chase. He was charged with attempted murder, theft of a police vehicle, theft of an officer’s gun and being a felon with a gun.
The attempted murder charge was expected to be upgraded in light of Moore’s death at a Coeur d’Alene hospital. Renfro has a long criminal record and was on probation.
The officer was shot about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after checking on a suspicious person in a neighborhood, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said.
“He was out doing routine random patrols in an area that we have experienced some auto burglaries in. So he was doing what we do. It’s just incredibly tragic,” city police spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood told KREM-TV of Spokane.
An officer spotted the stolen police cruiser, setting off a chase that reached speeds of 125 mph. The search for the suspect ended when a police dog dragged the man from his hiding place underneath a commercial truck. He was lodged in the Kootenai County, Idaho, jail.
Hundreds of people turned out Tuesday evening in Coeur d’Alene for a candlelight vigil for Moore, a husband and father of two who was a 16-year veteran of the city police department. He began his law enforcement career as a deputy sheriff in Asotin County, Washington, in late 1997 and began work in Coeur d’Alene in 1999.
In the vigil crowd was Sparks, Nevada, resident Don Eckles, a close friend of the officer. He said he heard about the shooting, got on a plane and came to Coeur d’Alene.
“It’s just amazing that people who don’t even know him, they come out and support everything he stood for,” Eckles told The Spokesman-Review of Spokane.
The show of appreciation also touched White.
“This is not something we see all across the U.S.,” the police chief told the crowd, which included city workers, elected officials, officers from around the region, church leaders and others. “I am truly grateful to be a part of this community.”
Moore called dispatch to get information on Renfro, White said. Not long after, a resident called police.
The resident “had heard a noise that sounded like a gunshot and they shortly after said that there was a body lying in the street,” White told a news conference.
“From the information I’ve received so far, it doesn’t look like an ambush-style attack,” the chief said. “This was just a bad guy doing bad guy stuff and our officers doing what they were trained to do — and that’s trying to keep our communities safe.”
After Moore was shot, an officer from nearby Post Falls, Idaho, who was listening to radio traffic about the shooting, saw a Coeur d’Alene police car race by about 90 mph, so he gave chase close to the Washington state line, with speeds reaching 125 mph, Post Falls Police Chief Scott Haugsaid.
The officer found the patrol car abandoned, and the Washington State Patrol and Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office helped set up a perimeter, Haug said.
A police dog found Renfro about two hours later hiding under a tractor-trailer, wedged off the ground between the axle area and the truck, near a Wal-Mart in Post Falls, Haug said.
“He was engaged by the dog when he would not comply and taken into custody,” Haug said.
The Idaho State Police is the lead agency investigating the shooting, said Stu Miller, a spokesman for the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators collected evidence from multiple scenes, including dash cam video from Moore’s car, Miller said.